Employment Report Disappoints but Probably Won’t Delay Federal Reserve’s Tapering Plan

The September employment report disappointed analysts; will it also complicate the Federal Reserve’s plan to begin withdrawing the monetary support that has cushioned the economy throughout the pandemic?

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Mortgage delinquency rates increased in the first quarter, up 59 basis points from the fourth quarter and 94 basis points above the year-ago-level. But the rate at which lenders are initiating foreclosure actions declined by 14 basis points (2 percent) year-over-year. So is the delinquency/foreclosure picture getting better or worse? Good question, with statistical evidence to support either conclusion.

The unemployment rate increased to 9.9 percent in April, and that represents good news for the economy. Good news? Well, yes, actually, counterintuitive though that seems. The increase from 9.7 percent in March indicates that workers who had previously given up on finding jobs have re-entered the market, encouraged by reports that employers are beginning to hire again. And that appears to be the case.

Homeowners in Massachusetts and other states have successfully challenged foreclosures initiated by lenders and servicers that could not document their right to foreclose. But what about the innocent buyers who purchase properties at foreclosure sales later found to have been improper? Should they be allowed to retain ownership of those homes?

Was the homebuyer tax credit an imaginative response to a weak housing market and a fragile economy, or “a failure of imagination,” and a costly failure, at that?